The big business and open borders lobbies are praising an expansion of the H-2B foreign guest worker visa included in the 2017 budget.
The budget, promoted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, will allow Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to expand the number of foreign workers who come to the U.S. for blue-collar jobs by at least 20,000.
The H-2B visa brings foreign nationals to the U.S. for low-skilled nonagricultural jobs. The visa impacts working-class and poor Americans most, as jobs in the hotel industry, theme parks, retail, and restaurants can insource jobs to foreign workers under the program. More than half a million jobs in the U.S. have been filled by H-2B visa workers in the last five years.
Now, the key organization which lobbied members of Congress to pass the expansion of the H-2B visa is praising the move, according to POLITICOPro’s Ted Hesson, as their business allies and pro-immigration associates will profit from the continued insourcing of blue-collar work in the U.S.
The H-2B Workforce Coalition lobbied Congress to include a 2015-like expansion of the H-2B visa where returning foreign workers would be exempt from the annual cap of 66,000, quadrupling the number of foreign workers entering the U.S. and taking jobs from American workers.
Instead, the H-2B Workforce Coalition got an expansion in the form of leaving the decision up to Kelly, which they are regarding as a win for business and immigration interests.
As Breitbart Texas reported, claims of “labor shortages” in the U.S. workforce by H-2B advocates are unfounded, according to critics.
“Missing workers,” as the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) calls them, are discouraged American workers who are either unemployed or no longer looking for work because they see a weak job market, whether that be low wages, bad working conditions, or other reasons.
Currently, there are 1.37 million “missing workers” in the American labor force between the ages of 45 and 74-years-old. These workers are not included in the monthly unemployment rate, but if they were, the unemployment rate would be 5.3 percent, according to EPI.
Additionally, the H-2B visa keeps American workers’ wages stagnant, and in some cases, have actually decreased their wages. According to EPI analysis, for landscaping and grounds-keeping jobs given to H-2B foreign workers, wages decreased by 3.4 percent between 2004 and 2014. For jobs in the amusement and recreation industry, which also employs a multitude of H-2B foreign workers, wages between 2004 and 2014 fell by 1.3 percent.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.